Multiple Choice Finds Lawn to His Liking

Multiple Choice Finds Lawn to His Liking
Photo: AP/NYRA Adam Coglianese
Multiple Choice, right, outruns Dedication to capture the Jaipur Stakes, Sunday at Belmont Park.
(from Belmont report)
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens finally got a chance to try Multiple Choice on the turf Sunday afternoon, and the 6-year-old Mt. Livermore gelding rewarded his faith with a late-running neck victory in the $112,200 (gr. IIIT) Jaipur Handicap at seven furlongs on the Widener course.

A graded stakes winner on dirt who had never run on the grass before, Multiple Choice had not won since the Gravesend (gr. III) at Aqueduct on December 29, 2002, a span of 11 races.

"We've tried to run him in this race the last couple of years, but something always came up," said Jerkens. "He made that second run. He runs a little `spotty.' He puts in a big run. You give him a little breather, and then he comes again. That was very satisfying. He hasn't won a race in a year and a half."

The victory, coming in 1:22 1/5 on the good course, was the eighth in 35 career starts for Multiple Choice. Rated in mid-pack, Multiple Choice was in good position behind He's Crafty and Great Notion, who went the first quarter in :22 2/5 and the half in :45 3/5 with the portable rail out 18 feet. Kept wide and clear by jockey Javier Castellano, he surged by Banned In Boston, who had taken the lead in the stretch and fought off favored Dedication late for the victory.

"I knew I had the horse, but he is the kind of horse you have ride," Castellano said " I rode Dedication last time, and that [mare] has a short run. My horse breaks a little slow, but I could tell he liked the turf. He wanted to run and we had a good trip behind the horses."

The 5-year-old mare Dedication, winner of Aqueduct's 1 1/16-mile Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) in her last start, ran her race while shortening up for Sunday's contest against males. Dedication was bumped at the start and bumped again repeatedly on thh backstretch before rallying widely for Edgar Prado in the stretch. She is expected to come right back on Saturday in the Just A Game Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT).

"She ran a good race," said her trainer, Christophe Clement. "She finished very strong. We just got a little unlucky at the end. This is a good prep for the Just a Game."

Geronimo was third, nipping Banned in Boston, followed by Lismore Knight, He's Crafty, Great Notion and Unswept. Savoy Special, entered for the main track only, was scratched.

Multiple Choice returned $31, $13.40 and $6.80. Dedication paid $4.50 and $3 and Geronimo was $4.10.

(Chart, Equibase)

Most Popular Stories